after reading this convicting blog series about being a calvinist and a pharisee, i was particularly impacted by the blog on Pharisaical calvinists being suspicious of joy.
it is hard for me to remember is that joy is a good thing. i often get in the mentality that a hard, depressing, downtrodden life is more "spiritual" than one full of joy (dont ask me where i got this idea... definitely not from the bible).
so, after feeling a little depressed about my lack of joy, i decided to start praying for God to give me more joy. and in typical God-like fashion (grace) he's given me overflowing joy in the past few days, despite my lack of faith that he would. its been such a blessing and very encouraging... to have joy that is not dependent upon circumstances, and to praise God for each and every thing that He gives, even the very smallest things. i have been more content than i can remember for a long time.
but then my sin nature rears its ugly head again... as a result of being [too?] joyful, i start having thoughts that God isn't ok with me being too happy, and therefore, will take me up to heaven (ie let me die), as if God chooses to let someone die merely because they are content with life. so, i cant escape the negativity... because even when God does allow me to escape, my sin leads me to go back and wallow in the mud.
one day, i will no longer have irrational thoughts. i look forward to that day. until then, i will continue to battle them, and look forward to future grace.